If you could look back and give yourself any advice, what would it be? How do you think you/your life would be different if you had had said advice?
I would probably just tell myself to take everything in stride. There are often months or even years when a bunch of stuff is thrown at us all at once and it’s important just to take it day by day. I’d also say to spend more time taking care of myself. I believe the way you treat yourself is a direct reflection of what you accept from others. But I can guarantee that my life wouldn’t be any different if I had been given this advice back then. Like most people, I can never seem to follow through with what I’m constantly preaching to my friends. I never take my own advice; things are easier said than done I guess.

What is the hardest thing about love for you?
I think because I’m always very giving when it comes to my love, I struggle with feeling inadequate if I don’t get the same amount back from someone. Whether it’s a partner or friends, I tend to worry that someone doesn’t love me anymore if they aren’t giving me back the same level of affection. I also think that this makes it hard for me to trust people because my insecurities get the best of me in certain situations.

What do you think it means to be kind to yourself? How does this compare to how we are kind to others?
Putting yourself first once in a while is probably one of the nicest things to do. When you take care of your mental health and take a break when you need it, then it can dramatically change the way you interact with people. Also, I think for me personally, being kind to myself means not spending time comparing my appearance to other women. I have a tendency to be really harsh on my body when it comes to how I look and constantly forget my own self-worth. There are times when people put others down because they are insecure about themselves, I know I’m guilty of it. Be kind to yourself and you will be kind to others. 

What is the hardest emotion for you? Why?
Any of them (insert eye roll here). Since I’m not very good at handling my own emotions, I tend to cry and get very angry when I feel anything more than just plain sadness. It’s almost as if I get frustrated with myself for feeling something so I have an unnecessary reaction to it. I also self-sabotage a lot. If I find that I’m feeling happy, I automatically stop and put myself in a more neutral mood because I know the happiness could disappear in an instant. It’s tricky when all I want to be is happy but it’s almost like my brain stops that from happening just because it could be a short-lived emotion.

What words of wisdom do you live by? Why?
“You’re gonna die. Do something about it.” Okay, in all honesty I just heard this the other day but it really stuck with me. I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone these days so anything that reminds me there is a lot more life I have to live is something I want to keep in mind. In the end, it all really comes down to life and death and how we choose to spend our time. There has to be more to life than going to school, working, raising kids and dying. I don’t want to get stuck feeling like I have to follow the same pattern as what is expected of me as a 20-something.

What is your relationship with your work (i.e. your writing/what you are passionate about)?
I’m very rarely the type of person that goes to friends and talks about every little thing I’m feeling upset about. I tend to bottle things up but that’s when I write the best stuff. Writing has always been an outlet for me, it has saved my life more than once. But just like any relationship, it has its ups and downs. Sometimes I can’t write anything, other times I can’t stop. I feel worse if I try to force it but I feel lost when I don’t do it. It’s the same with painting and sketching. I can be a creative person but I can’t always choose when that’s going to be.

What is the most life changing experience you’ve had?
Probably falling out of love with someone that I thought was my future. I know it’s kind of cliché for the girl to find herself after losing her boyfriend but it’s pretty accurate. It’s not necessarily about having the chance to do what you want without worrying about someone else, but more about being forced to be alone and figure out what that means to you. I had to be strong for myself because I wanted to survive so I had to learn how to make that happen. It was hard and still is some days, but I can proudly say that I am one of the strongest people I know. I created a new life for myself, by myself. Doing that changed everything for me.

What does “home” mean to you?
Depends, I guess. Sometimes home to me is another person. I could go anywhere with them and still feel “home.” But because I spend so much time alone and don’t really have the chance to feel that in another, home is being comfortable in my environment. I’m uncomfortable in many places but crawling into bed, taking off my pants (aka leg prisons) and cuddling my cats is what I consider “home” now. It’s where I’m most comfortable.

What do you think your strengths are?
I’m good at being able to empathize with people when they are in situations where they might feel alone but I’m also good at speaking the truth when people need to hear it. Ultimately, I think my ability to handle a lot of negativity over a short period of time is my biggest strength. I never give myself enough credit for that.

How do you think you are seen in the world?
Some people see me as the shy, quiet girl and others see me as a bitch.

How does this compare to how you would like to be seen?
Very few people actually see the real me and for the most part, I’m okay with that. But I know some people have a twisted idea of the type of person I am which can be frustrating at times because I know I’m not like that. It comes down to not stressing out about how people see you. As long as you know who you are then that’s all that matters. With that being said, it would be awesome for people one day to see me as a strong and motivated woman that makes things happen for herself.

What do you want from life?
I’d love a hot husband, a huge house and millions of dollars (just kidding, sort of). I really just want to be happy with wherever I end up. I know I’m not going to get everything I want and things won’t always go as planned, but contentment and happiness is all I could ever ask for from my life.

What about your life are you the most proud of?
Surviving. I know that sounds weird but honestly, nothing makes me more proud than sticking through everything that has nearly ended it for me. I know what is important to me now and have the motivation to stick with it.

Do you have a role model? What about them do you find inspiring?
I don’t necessarily have a role model but I’m surrounded by women that amaze me and inspire me every single day. My friends are phenomenal people and I’ve watched them go through some really awful things and come out on the other side in one piece. That constantly inspires me to keep going because I know that we will always have each other to lean on when and if we need it. 

Are you who you want to be? Who is that person?
I think I’m getting there. I just want to be successful in something that I love to do and build my life into something amazing despite anything that has ever held me back or will try to in the future. I’m constantly fighting for something but I’m finally fighting for the right things. I’m becoming the person I want to be and it’s really exciting. I’m starting to realize that I’m worth so much more than I had been made to feel.

Do you think it is more important to try and make an impact in the world at large, or in your own world? Why?
I think where I’m at in my life right now I’d have to say making an impact in my own world is more important. I’ve struggled with a lot over the past couple years and getting myself to a good place has to come first before I can attempt to make an impact in the world at large. Small steps can lead to much bigger things and I can’t wait to see where my small steps take me.

What do you think it means to love?
This is a hard question to answer for me. I do think that to be in love and to love are very different things. It seems like a lot of people are unable to tell those two things apart. There are different types of love which is why I think I struggle to put it into words. Love (whether for a pet, family member, friend, pair of shoes or chocolate cake) demands to be felt instead of put into words. Maybe that’s why so many people write about it…because none of us have ever really found a way to describe it perfectly yet. One thing is certain, any kind of love really is the most important thing to have in life.